Tuesday, September 15, 2015  |  0 Comment(s)  |   Email   Print

Digging in to V2V neighborhoods

by Ryan Mackin

Earlier in this blog, we took a look at the histories of V2V neighborhoods to get a sense of how the past has shaped the communities we work in today. While the past is certainly illuminating, what’s going on in the present is something to really pay attention to—to witness neighborhoods transforming before our eyes.

Fortunately there are resources in each community sharing wisdom and information on the current mobilization of progress. Below are a few of the best.

 (Banner Photo of Liz, Reggie and Seth in the Possibilitarian Garden; photo courtesy Sidewalks of Buckeye blog)


Cleveland / Buckeye-Woodland Hills


Sidewalks of Buckeye shares the stories of residents on the ground, right now. Within this blog you’ll meet David Smeltz as he rehabs a building on Buckeye Road for use as a “starting over” house. You’ll meet CJ and Reggie as they serve up free hot dogs to their neighbors. You’ll meet Miss Jeffries who sells fragrances and gives out hopeful messages.

Sidewalks is the project of Justin Glanville and Seth Beattie, two young guys who care deeply about the neighborhood and its hopeful turnaround. Through Sidewalks, Justin and Seth emphasize the most integral part of a community—its people. By talking with everyday people, Sidewalks gives a real face to a real neighborhood. There is something truly powerful in the stories being shared. And it seems that to harness that power, all you have to do is listen.

The Sidewalks project covers Woodland Hills and quantitative assessment as well. I’m looking forward to see how both stories and statistics meld in something comprehensive, and no doubt neighborhood-changing.



East Side Daily News has been covering news on Cleveland’s East Side for over three decades. While it is more accurately a weekly newspaper, it still does an excellent job of getting neighborhood news and information out to the communities it serves, both in print and online. The past five years of reporting is all archived in PDF format on their website.

Ulysses Glen operates the paper out of its office on Woodland Avenue, a few blocks away from the Woodland Hills V2V sites, across from Green Corps' Buckeye Farm. The newspaper has always been gracious in covering greening efforts in the community. All in all, East Side Daily News is a pillar of a news outlet in a place where much of the stories and information would otherwise go unheard.



V2V partner Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation (BSSDC) hosts both a website and Facebook page with community resources and events. From art and cultural events in the neighborhood, to housing opportunities, to organizing safety and planning meetings, BSSDC has it covered.



Buffalo / West Side

Buffalo Rising is a Buffalo-wide online news source, but it does a pretty good job of covering local stories and events on Buffalo’s west side. Recent posts include reporting on a Burmese puppetry workshop and Massachusetts Avenue Project’s new farmhouse. The blend of social critique and commentary shares concerns of fellow Buffalonians. In general, if something is going on in Buffalo, it seems Buffalo Rising is covering it.


Open Buffalo works with a variety of groups to be a civic initiative working towards a more democratic, innovative and unified Buffalo. Because of the organization’s social and economic justice concerns, the west side of Buffalo is an opportune place to help make the kind of change it would like to see. News, event and resources on the website and Facebook page cover the gamut of community concerns and community progress.


While Buffalo Rising and Open Buffalo have a city-wide focus that relates to the west side at times, V2V’s partner PUSH Buffalo shares information and events focused solely on Buffalo’s west side where V2V project sites are located. Their Facebook page is updated multiple times a day to make sure community members and partners are always in the know. PUSH focuses on many important matters that affect their residents—from housing and environment, to community and cultural events, to legal help and social justice reports. PUSH is the west side’s best resource for information and ongoings that truly matter.



Gary / Aetna


NWI Times is a local paper covering Lake County, Indiana, and does a good job of serving local communities in Gary, Indiana. Multiple V2V events in Aetna have been featured in the paper, both in print and online. For a community that is especially strapped for resources, NWI Times is an essential source of news and events for Gary residents.


Team Gary is the City of Gary’s most vocal outreach to residents. With multiple social media posts each day, Team Gary is a great way to find out what’s going on at a very local level. Recent posts include Town Hall Forum announcements, District Community Meetings, and arts, cultural and benefit events.


V2V partners at City of Gary’s Green Urbanism department target events surrounding environmental stewardship, blight elimination, greening and stormwater projects, and community clean-up days. Revitalize Gary provides a gateway for Aetna and other Gary residents to get involved in making a positive impact on their community.



Hyperlinks are provided throughout this article, but here is a list of main links referenced:

Cleveland / Woodland Hills

Buffalo / West Side

Gary / Aetna


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